Nature Meditation (6)



Mindful Nature Observation


Benefits:

  • enhances your emotional and physical health and wellbeing
  • improves focus and concentration
  • trains to suspend judgement
  • enhances depth of perception
  • connects with nature on a deeper level
  • develops intuitive insight and understanding
  • enhances focus on living in the “Now”


For many people the relationship with nature has been negatively impacted upon by the advancement and increased use of technology. More time is spent indoors and in front of screens, such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, computers, and televisions and less time in human relationships or nature.

For many children human interactions are replaced by screen time. Beside social deprivation, nature deprivation – or ‘Nature deficit disorder’ – may have a profound impact on our mental and emotional health.

Spending more quality time in nature, like gardening, walking, or observing nature, seems to have a very beneficial effect on stress reduction and improvement of mental and physical health

With the help of the exercise below you will enter fully into a state of perception with undivided attention, thus leading to an extension and deepening of your perceptions and intuitive insight.

By suspending judgment, you can open yourself fully to the object of your observation. This allows perceived impressions to resonate deep within you, creating thoughts, feelings, and images, which will rise within you as an inner response. The insights achieved through this mode of perception and its reverberation within our mind are usually profounder, more intuitive, and therefore more in tune with the object of observation. Goethe’s scientific nature research is based on this methodology which is known as Goethean observation.


Steps of extending sensory perception

The following exercise guides into mindful observation:

  • Slow down and deepen your breathing
  • Focus entirely on a natural object (for example, a plant, an animal, the sky, or the ocean), absorbing all details and engaging all your senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, warmth, touch, movement, balance)
  • Avoid any judgment or reflection at this moment in time.
  • Focus on sensory perceptions rather than on the thoughts or inner images, which arise within you.
  • Suppress any thoughts and images, when arising, and re-focus on perceiving, when required
  • Take a warm and deep interest in all the details whilst observing.
  • After a few minutes of undivided attention, focus on your inner response, and become aware of the feelings, thoughts, and images, that have been generated within you by the object of observation.


This exercise offers a means to go beyond our narrow, self-focused experiences.


Resources:

Richard Louv. Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Atlantic Books; Main edition (4 July 2013)

Townsend, M.; Weerasuriya, R. (2010). "Beyond blue to green: The benefits of contact with nature for mental health and well-being". Melbourne, Australia.

Bowler, D. E.; Buyung-Ali, L. M.; Knight, T. M. & Pullin, A. S. (2010). "A systematic review of evidence for the added benefits to health of exposure to natural environments". BMC Public Health.

Rudolf Steiner. Goethean Science. Mercury Press (June 1, 1988)